Keanu Reeves filmography and biography
Date of birth: 2 September 1964, Beirut, Lebanon
Keanu Reeves biography
One of the most inscrutable actors to ever hit it big, Keanu Reeves has
been by turns adored, reviled, and grudgingly respected by the
movie-going public. As the controversy over his talent rages on, his
career choices and paychecks show him inching toward A-list status.
Reeves, whose first name means "cool breeze over the mountains" in
Hawaiian, was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1964. His mother, Patricia,
was a showgirl; his father, Samuel Nowlin Reeves, a geologist. After
their marriage dissolved, Keanu moved with his mother and younger
sister Kim to New York City, then Toronto. Stepfather #1 was
Paul Aaron, a stage and film director - he and Patricia divorced
within a year, after which she went on to marry (and divorce) rock
promoter Robert Miller and hair salon owner Jack Bond. Reeves never
reconnected with his biological father, who is now in prison on charges
of cocaine possession. In high school, Reeves was lukewarm toward
academics but took a keen interest in ice hockey (as team goalie, he
earned the nickname "The Wall") and drama. He eventually dropped out of
school to pursue an acting career.
After a few stage gigs and a handful of made-for-TV movies, he scored a supporting role in the Rob Lowe (I) hockey flick Youngblood, which was filmed in Canada. Shortly after the production wrapped, Reeves packed his bags and headed for Hollywood. Reeves popped up on critics' radar with his performance in the dark adolescent drama Rivers Edge, but his first popular success was the role of totally rad dude Ted Logan in Bill amp; Teds Excellent Adventure. The wacky time-travel movie became something of a cultural phenomenon, and audiences would forever confuse Reeves's real-life persona with that of his doofy on-screen counterpart. Over the next few years, Reeves tried to shake the Ted stigma with a series of highbrow projects. He played a slumming rich boy opposite River Phoenix's narcoleptic male hustler in My Own Private Idaho, an unlucky lawyer who stumbles into the vampire's lair in Dracula, and Shakespearean party-pooper Don Jon in Much Ado About Nothing.
In 1994, the understated actor became a big-budget action star with the release of Speed (1994/I). Its success heralded an era of five years in which Reeves would alternate between largely unwatched small films, like Feeling Minnesota and The Last Time I Committed Suicide, and unwatched big films like Johnny Mnemonic and Chain Reaction. After all this Reeves did the unthinkable and passed on the Speed sequel, but he struck box-office gold again a few years later with the Wachowski brothers' cyberadventure The Matrix. Despite his deadpan delivery style and reputation as an oaf, Reeves continues to reel in choice roles and fat paychecks. Whatever he knows, he's not telling the public--his self-deprecating interview tactics and mysterious private life provide little insight into his artistry. As far as Reeves is concerned, it seems, he's just a regular guy who rides a motorcycle, plays in a band (Dogstar), and shows up every now and then for a movie shoot.
Keanu Reeves trivia
- (1995) Chosen by "People" magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world.
- (October 1997) Ranked #23 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.
- (May 1993) Arrested in Los Angeles; charged with drunk driving.
- Loves ballroom dancing.
- He owns at least two Norton Commando motorcycles whose engines were available in both 750cc and 850cc capacities, the high-compression version being the Combat Commando.
- Sister, Kim (born in Australia in 1966). Through his mother, he has a half-sister named Karina Miller (born 1976 in Toronto). Through his father, he has a half-sister named Emma Reeves (born 1980 in Hawaii).
- Named after his uncle Henry Keanu Reeves. "Keanu" is a derivation of Reeves' great-great-uncle Keaweaheulu, whose name means "the soft breeze raising" in Hawaiian.
- Ex-stepson of film and stage director Paul Aaron.
- Had job sharpening ice skates.
- Was nicknamed "the wall" by high school hockey team De La Salle College "Oaklands".
- Father left the family when Keanu was very young.
- Was manager of a pasta shop in Toronto.
- His father was a geologist who served time in prison. He was paroled after serving two years of a ten-year sentence for selling heroin at Hilo Airport in 1992.
- His mother, Patricia Taylor (I), was a costume designer for rock stars such as Alice Cooper (I).
- His name means "cool breeze over the mountains" in Hawaiian.
- Dropped out of high school when he was 17 to become an actor.
- Hobbies include horseback riding and surfing (both inspired from movie roles).
- Was MVP on his high school hockey team, where he was a goalie.
- Keanu got his abdominal scar from a motorcycle wreck in Topanga Canyon. He was on a "demon ride" (no headlights at night) when he crashed into the side of a mountain. He was hospitalized for a week with broken ribs and a ruptured spleen. When the paramedics came to get him, an emergency medical technician trainee picked up one end of the stretcher ... then dropped it by mistake! "It made me laugh, but I couldn't breathe!"
- When trying out for the parts of Bill and Ted in Bill amp; Teds Excellent Adventure, each actor was paired up with another. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter (I) were paired up, Reeves trying out for the part of Bill while Winter tried out for the part of Ted. They were cast opposite what they auditioned for.
- His first name, Keanu, is pronounced "keh-ah-noo.".
- (1995) Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#17).
- In November 1999, the baby girl he was expecting with girlfriend Jennifer Syme was stillborn, just a few weeks shy of the actual delivery date. They had planned to name her Ava Archer Syme-Reeves.
- (2 April 2001) His estranged girlfriend Jennifer Syme was killed when her Jeep Cherokee careered onto the wrong side of a Los Angeles road near Highway 101 and smashed into three parked cars. The force of the crash flipped the car over and she was thrown through the windshield. She was killed instantly.
- Maintains Canadian citizenship and passport.
- Has appeared in three films whose title contains a US state: Feeling Minnesota, My Own Private Idaho and The Prince of Pennsylvania and his character in Point Break was named John Utah.
- Was set to reprise his role as Jack Traven in the sequel to Speed (1994/I)--Speed 2: Cruise Control--but dropped out.
- Took a 90% pay cut on his salary on The Replacements so Gene Hackman could be cast. Previously, he had deferred $2 million of his salary so that Al Pacino could be cast on The Devils Advocate.
- Resides in the Hollywood Hills area, Los Angeles, California, and is said to maintain an apartment in Manhattan as well.
- Learned over 200 martial arts moves for The Matrix Reloaded.
- Played (bass) in "Becky" which also featured Robert Mailhouse (drums), Paulie Kosta (guitar) and Rebecca Lord (II) (vocals).
- Was originally offered the role of Pvt. Chris Taylor in Platoon. Keanu turned it down and the role went to Charlie Sheen (I).
- Was originally cast as Chris Shiherlis in Heat but later backed out of the project, and the part went to Val Kilmer.
- He went to high school at North Toronto, where his drama teacher was Paul Robert.
- Shares a birthday with actress Salma Hayek, heavyweight boxer Lennox Lewis and NFL Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson (I).
- Frequently plays man either strapped or sitting in a chair while some type of procedure is performed on him. All three Matrix films, Johnny Mnemonic, Feeling Minnesota, Dracula, Constantine, A Scanner Darkly, The Day the Earth Stood Still.
- Although left-handed, plays bass with his right.
- 31st January 2005: Honoured with a Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
- Read the script of Constantine while filming The Matrix Revolutions.
- His first theater work was with Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts in "The Tempest."
- He learned to surf for his role in Point Break
- Is very good friends with his Bill & Ted co-star, Alex Winter (I) and has remained in contact with him. Keanu has also contributed cameo appearances and helped with a number of Winter's film projects.
- His best friend is his sister.
- He has recently left the band "Becky" with former "Dogstar" band mate Robert Mailhouse, due to scheduling conflicts.
- Auditioned for the Etobicoke School of the Arts in Etobicoke, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; but was rejected.
- Replaced Val Kilmer as "Johnny Mnemonic" in Johnny Mnemonic when Kilmer left the project upon being offered the role of "Batman" in Batman Forever. Ironically, Kilmer later replaced Reeves as "Chris Siherlis" in Heat.
- His best friend was actor River Phoenix. He is also friends with River's brother Joaquin Phoenix.
- His parents married in Hawaii and divorced in 1966. His mother later remarried Paul Aaron (divorced in 1971) and Robert Miller (between 1976 and 1980).
- The character of Jimbo Jones on The Simpsons is based on his character from Bill amp; Teds Excellent Adventure.
- Lent one of his basses (a yellow Fender) to be used in the music video 100% by Sonic Youth to bassist Kim Gordon.
- Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#28). .
- Has played a former quarterback from The Ohio State University in two movies Point Break and The Replacements.
- Turned down the role of "Racer X" in Speed Racer. The part eventually went to Matthew Fox (I).
- Joel Schumacher considered him for the role of "The Scarecrow", Jonathan Crane, in the fifth Batman movie had Schumacher gone on to direct Batman 5. The failure of Batman amp; Robin prevented that from happening.
- An avid fan of Formula 1 and IndyCar racing.
- Was a good friend to the late Anthony Quinn (I). They starred together in A Walk in the Clouds.
- Lives in Los Angeles, California.
- Is close friends with Speed (1994/I) co-star Sandra Bullock. He also was among the guests at her wedding to Jesse James (VII) in 2005.
Keanu Reeves quotes
- What would happen if you melted? You know, you never really hear this talked about much, but spontaneous combustion? It exists!...[people] burn from within...sometimes they'll be in a wooden chair and the chair won't burn, but there'll be nothing left of the person. Except sometimes his teeth. Or the heart. No one speaks about this, but its for real.
- My name can't be THAT tough to pronounce!
- When I don't feel free and can't do what I want I just react. I go against it.
- [when told he'd have to "bite the bullet"] Yes, but I don't have to eat the whole rifle.
- I'm a meathead, man. You've got smart people, and you've got dumb people. I just happen to be dumb.
- I'm sorry my existence is not very noble or sublime.
- [On being a star] It can still be very surreal. It's easy to become very self-critical when you're an actor. Then you get critiqued be the critics. Whether you agree with them or not, people are passing judgment on you.
- [On drugs] I've had wonderful experiences. I mean really wonderful. In teaching. Personal epiphanies. About life. About a different perspective -- help with different perspectives that you have. You know what I mean? Relationships to nature. Relationships with the self. With other people. With events.
- [when asked if he had any fears] I used to have nightmares that they would put "He played Ted" on my tombstone.
- I'm Mickey Mouse. They don't know who's inside the suit.
- Here comes 40. I'm feeling my age and I've ordered the Ferrari. I'm going to get the whole mid-life crisis package
- It's always wonderful to get to know women, with the mystery and the joy and the depth. If you can make a woman laugh, you're seeing the most beautiful thing on God's Earth.
- [On River Phoenix] You can't blame Hollywood for what happened to River. Kids are doing drugs everywhere in the world. He had his own very personal problems I will never discuss with the press. They're just way too personal. River had a self-destructive side to his personality. He was angry and hurt that he couldn't have a private life once he became famous. He just couldn't deal with having his private life on the front page all the time.
- [On River Phoenix] River was a remarkable artist and a rare human being. I miss him every day.
- [On River Phoenix and My Own Private Idaho] We were doing I Love You to Death, and we got the Idaho script. We were driving in a car on Santa Monica Boulevard, probably on the way to a club, and were talking really fast about the whole idea. We were excited. It could have been like a bad dream, a dream that never follows through because no one commits, but we just forced ourselves into it. We said, "Okay, I'll do it if you do it. I won't do it if you don't." We shook hands. That was it.
- on Patrick Swayze: He was a beautiful person, an artist! Patrick, he just wanted to experience life and for his work he wanted to take the opportunity of the film and it gave him that sense. There was some sky diving sequences in this film we did together and as filming was going on it came to be that Patrick was jumping out of airplanes all the time. I think he had over 30 jumps during the course of filming and so the production served him with a cease and desist which he listened to until they got to Hawaii. He jumps out of planes and did the flips and falling to the ground and he did it with an open heart. I'll always remember his buddy for lighting up a room with his presence. I can say what I know that he lived life to the fullest.
- (1995 quote on his idea of happiness) Lying in bed with my lover, riding my bike, sports, happy times with my friends, conversation, learning, the earth, dirt, a beautiful repast with friends, family with wine and glorious food and happy tidings and energy and zest and lust for life. I like being in the desert, in nature, being in extraordinary spaces in nature, high in a tree or in the dirt, hanging out with my family, my sisters.
- (1995 quote) L.A. has been my place of abode for seven years and I have a little place in New York City. I don't even have a house house, but I have been living in the same place in Los Angeles for a couple of years and it's just now becoming a home. I like to be free and unfettered. I like the option of being able to do anything and go anywhere, anytime. I like to have my house open. A lot of my friends have keys to my houses and I like to have everything, you know, 'What's mine is yours,' and to drink wine, talk and hang out.
- (1995 quote on My Own Private Idaho) You know what's great? Right after I finished Dracula, I went to Paris to visit a couple of friends, shipped over one of my Norton's, my '72 750 with California plates, and just hung out for two-and-a-half weeks. My Own Private Idaho had just opened at a theater right near my friend's house where I was staying. I got stopped by a couple of American students who'd seen it and they bought me a beer. Which is what you should do in Paris: sit in cafÃ©s, talk, hang out. I had miraculous weather, so it didn't rain on my parade. Then, I went to New York to visit friends, sat down, hung out, and the same sort of thing happened there. So, do I want more movies that lead to experiences like that? Yes, please.
- (On auditioning for Oliver Stone's The Doors) I auditioned a few times, but I don't think I was ever seriously in the running. I was terrified. I just read some of Jim Morrison's poetry and listened to some of his music and did what I could.
- (1992 quote) It's only very recently that I've been approached with, 'Would you like to do this?' Mostly, I'm still auditioning, which there's something to be said for. Up to now, my only real choices have been: 'Hmmmm, an audition, go or not go? Go!' I auditioned seven times for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and all the 'finalists' had to read with everyone else-me, Pauly Shore, Josh Richman, Alex Winter and others. I met with Coppola three times before he asked me if I wanted to play the part in Dracula.